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Thursday, July 1, 2021

The Tomorrow War

Chris McKay

Studio: Amazon Studios/Paramount Pictures

Review: The Tomorrow War

This Chris Pratt-lead flick can be mistaken for another Guardians of the Galaxy movie or simply another Aliens sequel. To be on the safe side, if you’re a Chris Pratt fan who enjoys his movies, then you might want to get a kick out of this because this film, whether or not it’s good or bad, might blow your socks off. Produced by David Ellison, the film is directed by Chris McKay and features the stars of Chris Pratt, Yvonne Strahovski, Betty Gilpin, and J.K. Simmons.

The Tomorrow War takes place around thirty years into the future when mankind is losing a global war against a deadly alien species. The last and only hope for survival is for soldiers and military civilians from the present to be transported to the future in order to join the fight. Among those recruited is high school teacher and family man Dan Forester whose main goal is to save the world for the safety of his young daughter by teaming up with an intelligent scientist and his estranged father to help him on his quest to save the planet.

Actor Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy, Jurassic World) portrays Dan Forester, a father of his young daughter and a high school teacher who is drafted and transported into the future to fight off the alien enemies. His character is a mixture of Star-Lord and Jurassic World’s Owen Grady role. Based on his resume with science-fiction films, Pratt knows the drill of playing a fistful man with some military background. Of course, throughout the film, playing a military cadet isn’t so easy, but he does know his stunts and tricks because his role in the film is specifically written for him on his behalf. For moments, this film seems to be hard but exciting to work but Pratt assures the audience that he can do it. Pratt also stands in as an executive producer for the film. Actress Yvonne Strahovski (Zachery Levi’s Chuck) portrays as scientist Romeo Command who helps and provides instructions for Dan Forester on how to capture the deadliest alien for research. She is later revealed in the film’s second half to be a future version of Dan Forester’s daughter Muri who tells him never to leave her when she was a child.

The Tomorrow War is Chris McKay’s first live-action feature film as director, he was involved in the The LEGO Movie (also featuring Chris Pratt) as animation director as well as director for some episodes of Robot Chicken. With his direction, the story and its action sequences aiming at war between humans and aliens bring sturdy elements and contents from Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame being placed around the borders of the film’s entirety. McKay has his crew take a lot of location shootings and cameric angle “action-shots'' to film the deadliest alien battle scenes in order to please the action-adventure movie fans. In addition, McKay takes up the humor and comedy for Pratt’s character from above.

While soaring over the actional-violent sequences, the fiery, monstrous CGI and the visuals are very distracting as the director flavored more on those tools rather than focusing on laboring down the character developments for several actors, including Pratt and Strahovski. Even for the lazy script-writing that didn’t meet the criteria of any formulas of James Gunn, James Cameron, or the Russo brothers. And the explanation of how the aliens have been formed at the end of the second half left me confused and highly questionable.

Also featured in the film are Betty Gilpin, Sam Richardson, Edwin Hodge, Jasmine Mathews, Ryan Kiera Armstrong, and Keith Powers. They are portrayed as Dan’s wife Emmy, his partner Charlie, Dorian, Lt. Hart, his young daughter Muri, and Mayor Greenwood respectively. And lastly, J.K. Simmons (Sam Raini’s Spider-Man trilogy, Whiplash), despite his small screen time, appears as James Forester, Dan’s estange father who helps him on his quest to save the world.

All in all, The Tomorrow War isn’t a good movie. Maybe not as instant as James Cameron's Aliens film or any average Aliens vs. Predator films. Clocking in at 140 minutes, I do not recommend this film, though I do admire the performances of Pratt, Strahovski, Gilpin, and Simmons. I felt like The Tomorrow War is a bit painful and scary to watch, given the fact that there’s a R-Rating price tag to that order under the director’s wishes for the cast and crew to get involved in certain duties to fulfill. I hate to say this, but this shivering flick is a hard pass to go through, but if you’re a Chris Pratt fan, better be prepared for all the action and dangers you will face.


(Review by Henry Pham)

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